Monday, 12 April 2021

American Electro-tank

The use of multiple engines, suspensions, and transmissions on one type of tank was a unique feature of American tank building. The same thing happened with the prospective replacement of the Medium Tank M4. Development of three types of transmission and several types of suspension theoretically allowed the military to choose the most reliable variant that would then enter production. The result was unexpected. The Medium Tank T23 was chosen as a result of trials, but it never replaced the M4, although some of its elements came in handy.

Friday, 9 April 2021

Book Review: Japanese Tanks and Armoured Warfare 1932-45 A Military and Political History

Even as an avid military history enthusiast, I don't come across discussion of Japanese tank warfare very often. This is not very surprising: people's imagination is captured by armoured titans like the Tiger tank or massive large scale clashes like the Second Battle of El-Alamein. The Pacific theater of WWII had space for neither heavy tanks nor large battles. Tank units in this region largely consisted of vehicles that would have been considered obsolete in Europe at the time. Discussions of tank warfare in the region usually boil down to one-sided beatings handed out by Sherman tanks against their much lighter armed and armoured Japanese brethren.

In his latest book David McCormack goes beyond such superficial comparisons and starts at the beginning of Japanese armoure warfare: the purchase of a Mark IV, six Whippet, and thirteen Renault FT tanks at the tail end of WWI. As the title promises, the prologue dives deep into the political battlefield between the innovators and traditionalists of the Japanese army. The book covers both the attempt to develop a progressive tank doctrine and production of domestic armoured vehicles inspired by foreign samples but tailored for the region.

Wednesday, 7 April 2021

85 mm Gun Upgrade


"In order to make loading of the S-31 tank gun in the KV-1S and IS-1 tanks comfortable, the following must be done:

  1. Increase the distance from the bore axis to the roof to 470 mm (280 mm on the IS-1) as ramming an 85 mm shell at face height is difficult and impossible if the gun is depressed.
    On most modern foreign heavy tanks and on our SPGs the space between the bore axis and the roof ranges from 400 to 500 mm.

Monday, 5 April 2021

On the Way to the Pershing

There is a rule in tank development, especially in wartime: immediately start designing the replacement for the tank you just built. The Americans had to follow this rule in WWII. The situation with light tanks was fine, but medium tank production was just spinning up. Thanks to new model coming out annually, the Americans caught up to world leaders in medium tanks by 1942. The next step forward was the T20, which was radically different from its predecessors.

Friday, 2 April 2021

Wider or Longer?


"Based on results of artillery trials of an IS-122 SPG in the amount of 438 shots (222 supercharged) the Gorohovets ANIOP makes the following conclusions:
  • The 122 mm IS-122 self propelled gun passed proving grounds trials and can be accepted into mass production.
  • The IS-122 has the following advantages over the IS-152 self propelled gun-howitzer, such as:
    • Rate of fire is twice as high.
    • Ammunition capacity is higher (30 rounds instead of 20 like in the IS-152).
    • Muzzle velocity and penetration are higher (by 20%).
    • The maximum range is longer (by 3 km).
    • It is easier for the crew to work, load ammunition, and prepare for battle.
    • Fire at moving targets is more effective."

Wednesday, 31 March 2021

Warspot Article: Landships Left in Port

A number of designers and companies involved in tank development during WWI were brought back for WWII as the Special Vehicle Design Committee or "The Old Gang" (TOG). The TOG developed a very progressive tank for its time with powerful armament and rarely seen features like an electric transmission. However, the committee only built two prototypes and never ended up putting a tank into production. Read why in my latest article on

Monday, 29 March 2021

Colossus on Clay Feet

The peace treaty between France and Germany signed on June 22nd, 1940, meant the defeat of France in WWII. The fact that France was only able to hold on against Germany for 40 days shocked many. France had the second largest tank force behind only the USSR, and it seemed impossible that this armada could not resist the German advance. However, this defeat was inevitable. The problem wasn't that French tankers, as fiercely as they fought, had little experience. The problem was in the tanks themselves.

Friday, 26 March 2021

One Piece, IS-3 Edition

 "November 28th, 1945

To the Chief of the Main Artillery Directorate of the Red Army, comrade N.D. Yakovlev
People's Commissar of Armament comrade D.F. Ustinov
People's Commissar of Ammunition comrade B.L. Vannikov
Commander of Armoured and Motorized Forces comrade Ya.N. Fedorenko

RE: GAU letter #945369s dated November 22nd, 1945

I report that the Kirov factory produced an IS SPG equipped with an ammunition rack for single piece ammunition. This SPG will be sent to the GBTU proving grounds at Kubinka shortly.

At the same time, work was also conducted to place single piece ammunition in the IS-3 tank. It was not possible to achieve any kind of satisfactory results in this to date.

Only the SPG with ammunition racks for single piece rounds will be sent to trials.

People's Commissar of Transport Machinebuilding, V. Malyshev" 

Via Yuri Pasholok

Wednesday, 24 March 2021

Big Gun, Small Turret


"The 85 mm S-53 tank gun is installed in the regular T-34 turret. The stock turret is 130-150 mm narrower than the one housing the LB-1 gun and the turret bustle is smaller, fitting just 5 rounds instead of 12.

Monday, 22 March 2021

The Allies' View of the Maus

VE Day marked not only the defeat of Germany, but the Allies' ability to get their hands on German tank developments. A hunt for trophies and even German arms designers began. Various nations ended up with only pieces of information. This is especially true for the German Pz.Kpfw.Maus superheavy tank.  The USSR may have ended up with both prototypes and some of the documentation that was stored in Kummersdorf and in Berlin, but the British and Americans kept most of the documents, the factories that took part in its production, and the creator of the tank himself, Ferdinand Porsche.